An Academic Focus

If we focus our efforts toward the academic setting — and interdisciplinary work groups in particular — drawing becomes the language of collaboration that students can carry forward into the collaboration-heavy commercial market and arrive well-equipped to handle the ambiguity of complex, real-world problems. Perhaps even so much as to reduce the need for additional company-sponsored training on the need for and application of collaborative problem-solving techniques.

Academia makes an attractive host for this new approach to collaboration for several reasons. The university setting is a unique collection of a broad range of knowledge areas, all contained in one clear location; close proximity between the varied disciplines increases the possibility of interaction among dissimilar areas of expertise, a kind of academic “cross-pollination”. Secondly, in this pre-professional environment students from each discipline are still learning the language of their respective area — the cultural dialect of their discipline. Presenting them with an active, engaging means to reach beyond their own cultural dialect and converse with students versed in another dialects would create “professionally multilingual” students. Additionally, students in a university setting are typically between the ages of 18 and 24. These ages could frame a window of opportunity to reintroduce drawing as a productive activity before personal views are solidified, where drawing concretely becomes the domain of trained artists and the emergence of the phrase “I haven’t drawn since I was a kid” becomes the de facto excuse to be excluded from drawing-based activities. Lastly, the academic setting has long been the incubator of non-traditional methods of research, learning, and teaching; centers of higher-education are more open to new collaboration techniques without the high costs associated with implementing such approaches in the corporate setting.

Drawing becomes the language of collaboration that students can carry forward into the collaboration-heavy commercial market.